Project 370Z – Stillen Brake Duct Kit Install and Testing
Brakes, the all so critical system of an automobile that turns momentum into heat as well as being the most important safety feature of any car. Unfortunately, they're often over looked or marginalized, even by those who choose to track their cars on road courses. Seems as though braking upgrades are not nearly as “cool” as power or suspension modifications, even though braking is far more important.
When Project 370Z was purchased, we opted for the “Sport Package” which included a few performance oriented upgrades including a fixed Akebono caliper (4 piston front, 2 piston rear) brake system with larger rotors than the base model. Since the plan from the beginning was to see some track time with the curvy Fairlady, the “Sport Package” brakes seemed like a good idea for both the added stopping power/heat capacity, and ease of maintenance. As Project 370Z's progression over this past year has lead to faster lap times and track speeds, the brakes have been seeing more and more stress.
In preparation for a track day with Speed Ventures at AutoClub Speedway's “Roval” configuration, which notoriously taxes brakes heavily, the Stillen Brake Duct Cooling Kit was implemented to give Project 370Z a bit of a stress relief. Stillen has been involved in the Nissan performance aftermarket for over 25 years. All of their products see extensive track testing and R&D. The 370Z brake duct cooling kit is no exception, but nonetheless we were going to gather data ourselves at the event. First and foremost, we needed to install the kit which comes with detailed instructions and all the parts you need for an efficient install. With proper but basic tools and knowing your way around the front end of a 370Z, install time should be around 2 hours.
The Stillen kit comes with everything you need for the installation including detailed instructions and proper hardware. Plus, they supply you with extra brake hose that has to be cut down to size so you have more then enough to get the length right.
The brackets for the hoses sandwich between the wheel bearing and the knuckle arm using the OEM bolts and hardware. This configuration gets the most uninterrupted airflow to the rotors and brakes while still playing nice with all the stock suspension and brake parts
The brake hose entry brackets are designed to fit the shape of the 2009-2012 stock bumper “fangs” so prevalent on the 370Z. Not only does this make for a clean look, but also takes advantage of the OE bumper design for max cooling and airflow potential through the ducts.
The first step is removing the rotors to allow access to the front hub/wheel bearing for removal. We zip tied the caliper back onto the knuckle once the rotor was out of the way so there wasn't any weird or excessive tension on the brake line from the weight of the caliper during the install.